Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sleep Diary #5

It has been a while since I've made an entry in my sleep diary. Things had been going pretty well other than the fact that I wasn't actually going to sleep when I should have been. My plan of going to bed around 10:30 just wasn't happening. I've been lucky to get in the bed before midnight. Considering that I was sleeping alright once I got into bed.

Last night was terrible though. I had a pain in my side that kept me up all night. Every time I would get to sleep I would wake up after about an hour. That is not a good night's sleep. This kind of made me think...how much does it matter if your sleep is interrupted during the night? Based on my experience I think that it matters a lot. I'm going to do my best to get to bed at a more reasonable time so that I can be a little more alert during the day.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Weekly Wrap-Up and Goal Setting #10

I accidentally skipped last week's Wrap-Up and Goal Setting. Really the main wrap-up was captured in my review of the Belews Lake Triathlon. My goals for last week were just to recover and attempt to focus on nutrition.

Last week was a pretty good week. I got in a nice swim workout, a couple of runs and a great bike ride. One of the runs was a little difficult because apparently we have skipped right over Spring and headed straight into Summer. I was completely unprepared for how the heat would affect me when I went for a run on Thursday. It is back to carrying water with me while I run. Sunday I went on a bike ride with my friend Susan, we did about 20 miles and then did a 3 mile run afterwards. It was really helpful riding with her because she discussed gear shifting and gave me some pointers on when to shift from my big ring to my small ring.

Goal Setting:
I have not really been doing a good job at accomplishing my goals but at least I'm getting out there and doing something.... I am having the hardest time following the plan that Marisa gives us for the week but I at least try to do the stuff even if I have to switch around the days.

I am supposed to be doing the High Point half marathon this weekend but I'm not feeling too confident about that since I haven't been running as much as I'd like to leading up to the race.
Swimming: I usually do this at lunch time so that's why it is sometimes difficult to fit in. I'm going to try to go twice this week (Tuesday and Friday)
Running: 3 Times(Tuesday and Thursday and Sat)
Biking: Twice (Monday and Sunday)
Weight Training: Once (Wednesday)

Next week I'm going to see if I can actually follow the plan that Marisa give us even if that means getting up and going to swim before work.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Recipe of the Week: Plum Chicken

This is a recipe that I've made several times and realized I never posted it on my blog so here you go.

1 1/4 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1/2 tsp. Chinese five-spice powder (I don't like this so I use cayenne pepper and seasoning salt)
3 green onions
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 c. chicken broth
1/2 c. plum jam (I've also used black cherry jam which was pretty good)
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1. In bowl, toss thighs with five-spice powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt. From dark-green end of onions, finely chop enough to equal 2 tablespoons, reserve for garnish. Cut remainder of onions into 1-inch pieces; set aside.
2. In 12-inch skillet, heat oil on medium-high until hot. Add thighs and cook 10 minutes or until they're browned and lose their pink color throughout, turning once. Transfer thighs to plate; cover to keep warm.
3. In drippings in skillet, on medium, cook 1-inch onion pieces 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in broth, jam and vinegar, heat to boiling. Reduce heat to medium and cook 3 to 4 minutes or until sauce is syrupy. Return thighs to skillet and turn to coat with sauce.

Suggested sides: green beans and brown rice

Tamara's Take: 9 - This is a quick and easy recipe. I think that I will even branch out and try some different flavors of jam. It is very tasty and great over rice.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Belews Lake Triathlon Race Report

I am now an official triathlete!! WHOO! HOOO! I really enjoyed the race and I am already trying to plan out what my next one will be. I didn't win any awards but I had a wonderful time and felt great which is really all that matters. Here's the run down of the event:

Pre-race: I was a nervous wreck. I woke up around 4am and couldn't get back to sleep. I packed everything the night before so I didn't have to worry about that. I couldn't even eat all of my breakfast because my stomach was doing back-flips. On the ride down there I was practically shaking and my heart was beating really fast. I'm not sure why I was so nervous, it isn't like I was trying to win a championship or anything.

Swim(750 meters): 20:19 - This was surprisingly my favorite part of the race. I find it funny that the part I was the most worried about turned out to be the part I felt the best in. Yes, the water was COLD but it didn't have that big of a negative affect. I will admit that when I arrived and saw where the buoys were that I was thinking there was no way I was going to be able to swim that far. I actually passed some people in the water which was a shock to me. I felt strong throughout the entire swim and tried to pick it up towards the end although I'm not sure how much that actually happened. I did an okay job at spotting but towards the end I veered to the left a little farther than I would have liked.

Bike (14.5 miles): 59:44 - The bike was the hardest part of the race for me. There weren't any super steep hills but there were some significant hills on the course that really slowed me down. I feel like I have the power in my legs I just need to learn how to optimize the use of the gears. Throughout the entire race I felt like I was never in the correct gear. The positive thing is that I actually went faster than I felt like I was going. Not to mention, for some reason I was sure that the bike portion was only 12 miles so figuring out that it was 14.5 miles after I finished made me feel better about the ride. I didn't pass anyone on the bike ride but I sure did get passed by a lot of other people, most of them were nice and had some encouraging words which made me feel a little better. The funny thing that happened while I was riding is that I was looking at the legs of the people that were passing me and seeing a number on the right calf. My first thought was, oh I must not be doing that bad if #64 is passing me, wow I don't remember passing him in the swim, I must have done better than I thought in the swim. It didn't take me long to remember that the number on the right calf is the age of the person and that I was getting passed by a bunch of "old" people, LOL.

Run(3.1 miles): 32:16 - I would have loved to be able to do the run in under 30 minutes but I told myself before the race that if I could do it in under 35 that I would be satisfied. The start of the run was brutal because it started up a pretty long hill. My calves were burning and I felt like I had a ton of bricks in my shoes. Once I made it up the hill I felt a lot better and definitely picked up the pace for mile 2 and 3. I did walk briskly at the water station because I was feeling kind of dehydrated. I did not drink nearly enough water during the transition periods or while on the bike. I think it was because I was still kind of nervous and my stomach was bothering me so I didn't want to push that. Next time I will make sure that I take in enough fluids. The race coordinators were kind enough to have the finish on a downhill so I made myself really push it and even got into a sprint race at the end with some guy, I guess he didn't want to get beat by a girl LOL!

Transitions: I was concerned about not knowing what to do on the transitions but when it came down to it I was very comfortable and things went well. I think this is mainly due to the transition clinic that Marisa held for us the week before and from all the great advice I got from my fellow competitors. I wasn't super fast at either of the transitions but they went smoothly and gave me a chance to gather myself before the next event.

Thoughts: I loved it! It was very difficult and I can't even imagine doing a longer one right now even though I do plan on it for the future. I know it will just take a lot of hard work and dedication. I'm thankful for all of my wonderful friends and family that were there to support me and to provide lots of advice and to calm me down. Three of my friends won awards: Marisa (2nd female overall), Paul (3rd Clydesdale), Susan (2nd Athena). I'm very proud of them.

My coworker Bryan and I started the race 15 seconds apart. It was nice having someone that I knew nearby. He put on this show the day before the race about how nervous he was going to be but he seemed pretty calm to me. We didn't exactly stay together during the race but I did see him during each part so that was nice. It is great to have a familiar face out there on the course. There were some other people from the running group and tri training group out there as well. I don't know what their individual goals were but they all looked strong to me when I saw them on the course so I hope that they were pleased with their results.

Bottom-line: I'm now hooked and will be looking for my next fix real soon, LOL.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Triathlon Trepidation...3 Days Away

My first triathlon is coming up in a few days and I'm starting to get nervous. I don't know why I'm nervous...I've done a lot of preparation and training. Not to mention, it's not like I'm trying to win an award, I'm just trying to enjoy myself and get in some good exercise at the same time.

Doing races and events gives me motivation to stay on track with my exercising because I know that I have something that I'm preparing for.

Umm...so I don't even really know what I planned to write but clearly it has escaped me.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Weekly Wrap-Up and Goal Setting #9

Wrap Up:
I actually did okay this past week. Haven't lost any weight and I swear my thighs seem to be getting bigger...I'm going to assume it is muscle which is a little better but still frustrating when I try to fit into my pants.
Strength training: had me sore for the next few days! I really need to work on my upper body strength.
Biking: I made it twice, once was a spin class and the other was a 21 mile ride outside. I pushed myself in both cases so I'm feeling pretty good about my 12 mile bike ride for the race.
Swimming: I don't think I actually swam this past week except for my swim in the ice cold lake which was probably ended up being a couple hundred meters.
Running: Once, I skipped out on Saturday because my stomach was killing me.
Hmm...maybe I didn't do a well as I thought, LOL. But at least I felt better than last week.

Goal Setting:
My first triathlon is this Saturday! Whoo hoo. So this week I'm going to take it pretty easy and just do a few short workouts. I'm excited, nervous, and a little scared. Today we had transition training which made me feel even more comfortable although I don't think I'll be racing through my transition site, I'm just going to take it easy and focus on the different segments of the race.

What do you have planned for the week?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Not Quite Ready

Yesterday when we were getting ready to leave the swim clinic Marisa mentioned that her and some other people were going for a bike ride today. I asked if I could come along and she said "sure!". She said they were going to do around 3 hours. I was thinking...3 hours, that's doable.

When I showed up this morning she said we were going to do around 40 to 50 miles. I'm thinking in my head, oh so we must be planning on being out for longer than 3 hours. Uhhh, NO. Clearly based on the way we sped off they were not planning on being out for longer than 3 hours. I knew after the first hill that this probably wasn't going to work for me. I'm used to coasting along and picking up the pace every now and again. Riding with them my pace was picked up the entire time.

This is what happens when you've been cycling for six months and you try to ride with people that have competed multiple ironman competitions and one who has been riding for over 15 years. I tried to turn back after we had gone about 8 miles because I knew there was no way in hell I was going to make it 30 - 40 more miles at this pace. Marisa talked me into continuing but about 6 miles later when I'm sure she saw I was struggling to keep up. Well actually I wasn't struggling to keep up, I just plain wasn't keeping up. She was nice enough to direct me to a short cut back. I know she was worried about me riding alone but riding alone for less than 10 miles was a lot better than having me fall out on the side of the road which is what would have happened if I tried to keep going at the pace I was trying to maintain.

The ride back wasn't that bad. It gave me some time to reflect and to focus on my shifting and pedaling. I'm still getting the hang of actually pulling up on the pedals instead of only pushing down. The only bad part of the ride back was when I was coming up a hill and these two large, vicious dogs came running out at me. I thought I was going to have a heart attack because I could feel the dogs breath on my ankle. I couldn't get my foot unclipped to kick at it, which is probably a good thing because I'm pretty sure that would have resulted in me falling. I just screamed at the dogs until they left me alone. I am SO getting some pepper spray and the next dog that messes with me is going to get a face full!

Even though I couldn't keep up with Marisa and her friends I feel really good about today's ride because I pushed myself. At least I know I can go faster that I have been going. Maybe not for 40 or 60 miles (which is what they actually ended up doing today) but at least probably for 12 which is the distance next weekend so that's great!

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Today I went to an open water swim clinic to help prepare for my first triathlon that I will be competing in next Saturday. I can't remember the last time I have swam in a lake or even if I have ever actually swam in a lake. Since deciding to sign up for this triathlon the swim is the part that has been making me the most nervous. I'm not the best swimmer to begin with and the fact that this swim is in a lake doesn't really help.

So today I put on my wetsuit (UGH, I look like a stuffed sausage in this thing) and get ready to hop in the lake for swim. Oh, did I mention that the temperature of the water in the lake was 62 degrees.? Yeah, 62 degrees....painfully cold. I guess it could have been worse, although if it was any worse then I don't think I'd have been getting in the water. My toes and fingers were practically frozen and it hurt to put my face in the water. I must like torturing myself.

Enough complaining....I am very happy that I went to the clinic today. I feel so much more comfortable about the swim. The lake wasn't nearly as dirty as I thought it would be and I think having a bunch of other people in the water must have scared all of the fish away because I didn't see any. It was a little different swimming in a wetsuit but I think it won't be that big of a deal. I'm glad that the swim is a timed start instead of having everyone start at the same time. I don't think I'm ready for all of that chaos yet.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Nutritional Needs

The other day I asked my tri trainer if we were going to have a discussion about nutrition during our training program. The reality is that I probably already know everything I need to know about proper nutrition. I have read numerous nutrition books and articles. I have taken nutrition courses when I was in college. I know about portion control and what the proper balance should be for carbs/fat/protein. I have meal plans, healthy menus and a wide array of healthy recipes. I know how many calories I should have a day. I know that I should take into account my exercise and that it is just as important to eat enough food as it is to not eat too much food.

What is my point?

The point is.....lack of information isn't my problem. A lack of willpower is. I know all of this stuff but it doesn't mean a damn thing if I don't use this knowledge to create and stick with a healthy eating plan. I exercise regularly so I know that I could see the results I say I want if I could just get a handle on my eating. I just have an addiction to unhealthy food. I can't pass it up, I can't stop eating it. It would be one thing if I did it occasionally but I do it far to often. It's not like I don't enjoy healthy food, I just REALLY enjoy things like chili cheese fries and cookies. I don't know what I need to do to spark a real change but I'm going to work on figuring it out. The biggest thing is being more diligent in my meal planning and making sure that I have healthy options instead of unhealthy ones on hand for when I need a snack. Hopefully something will spark soon!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Biking Does Not Equal Spinning

I learned today that biking is not that similar to spinning. Spinning is a lot harder! I decided to take a spinning class today since I knew that I wouldn't ride outside by myself. It probably didn't help that my thighs were still sore from my workout yesterday. I had no idea it would be as difficult as it was but at least I made it through. Here is why it was so different to me.

The size of the bike wasn't optimal. Clearly they don't make these bikes for people 5 feet and under which is a bunch of bullsh*t. I mean really, I know numerous athletic women that are short so why won't exercise machine companies make some bikes that will suit us??? I lowered the seat ALLLLL the way down and it still wasn't perfect. It need to be about an inch lower to be comfortable.

You don't get to coast! You have to continue spinning the entire time. Sometimes you get to spin at a slower pace but you still have to keep spinning. Geez, I am used to coasting a large part of my rides, LOL, so this was pretty difficult.

Not to mention the instructor kept looking at me when she told us not to bounce. One, I don't even know what she meant by this. Two, LADY, have you seen these hips? They bounce on their own, I have no control over what they do. I just really don't foresee myself taking another spin class because while it was a great workout, it was pretty uncomfortable. Maybe one day they will make spinning bikes for short people.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Weekly Wrap-Up and Goal Setting #8

You would think that taking some time off would make me less tired but I swear I'm just as tired as I was before my break.

Wrap Up:
Yea.....so last week was pretty much a bust. I was feeling very worn out and so I decided to listen to my body and get some rest instead of pushing it and making myself feel worse.

Goal Setting:
This week I'm really trying to get back on track. Today we did a strength/cross-training workout that has my thighs on fire! I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to fit everything in this week because I have a lot going on but I'm going to try my best.
Strength Training: Once plus at least a 1 minute plank each night
Biking: 2 or 3 times
Swimming: 2 or 3 times
Running: 2 or 3 times

We'll see how it goes....

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Happy Anniversary to Us

Today is our 1 year anniversary! Whew...we made it, LOL. The traditional present for the 1st anniversary is paper. Since we are in the digital age I count the internet as "new" paper. So in celebration of our anniversary I thought I would list 10 reasons why I love my husband.

1. He puts up with my messiness and even picks up the shoes and coats I leave thrown around on the floor.
2. He lets me have control over the remote.
3. He has semi-agreed to us getting a cat despite his cat "allergy".
4. He tells me that every meal I make is delicious (even though I don't really believe him).
5. He supports me fully in my work and training.
6. He rubs my sore muscles after a long hard workout.
7. He laughs at my jokes and some of them are pretty bad.
8. He puts up with my constant mood swings, I am truly a Gemini.
9. He entertains the fact that I say that I am going to become a more organized person at least once a week but it has yet to happen.

There are a bazillion more reasons why I love my husband...these are just a few. Now I'm off to start preparing a wonderful dinner of stuffed mushrooms, crab cakes, filet migon, cole slaw and double-baked potatoes. YUM!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Recipe of the Week: Chicken Nuggets (Baked)

I don't have kids but I imagine that these would make for a nice, kid-friendly meal. I served them with oven baked french fries and salad.

Prep Time: 10 minutes plus 15 minutes marinating time Cook Time: 20 minutes

Marinade Ingredients:
1 cup buttermilk
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp sweet paprika

Chicken Nugget Ingredients:
3/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
3/4 cup flour
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 egg, beaten with 1 Tbsp of water
1 cup panko (or regular) breadcrumbs (I used panko)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Dipping sauces, such as BBQ and honey mustard

1. Combine all marinade ingredients in a medium bowl. Add chicken and stir to coat well. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator at least 15 minutes and up to 2 hours. ( I only did it for 15 min and it was fine)
2. Preheat oven to 400F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Pour flour onto a dinner plate and season with salt and pepper. Have beaten egg ready in small bowl. Combine breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese on a shallow plate. Working with one piece of a time, remove chicken from marinade (shaking off excess) and dredge in flour to coat. Dip into egg mixture then coat completely with breadcrumb mixture and place on prepared baking sheet. Continue until all pieces are coated and placed on a sheet. (OK so this was a little too much work from me..call me lazy..so I just put the flour and the breadcrumb mixture into 2 separate bags and put all the chicken pieces in the bags and shook them up instead of doing 1 piece at a time and it worked well and was less messy.)
3. Bake until golden and cooked through, about 20 minutes (turn nuggets halfway through to crisp both sides). Serve with dipping sauces.

Tamara's Take: I'd give this around an 8. I don't even know why I rate these things with numbers because it really doesn't mean much to anyone else since they don't know my scale. Anyway, this was easy and delicious. The nuggets were light and crunchy with a nice taste even without the sauce. Next time I think I will add some hot pepper to the mix to add an extra kick to it. If I ever babysit someone's kids and I need to fix a meal I will definitely consider making these for them.

If you try it, I hope you enjoy!